Suspended Afghan MP Malalai Joya wants NATO's mission to end

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      Canada's scheduled 2011 pullout from Afghanistan can't come soon enough for Malalai Joya.

      In an interview with the Straight, the women's-rights activist and the country's youngest member of parliament said she wants all NATO forces out of Afghanistan tomorrow.

      “Eight years ago, the U.S. and NATO—under the banner of women's rights, human rights, and democracy—occupied my country and pushed us from the frying pan into the fire,” Joya said by phone from San Francisco. “Eight years is enough to know better about the corrupt, mafia system of [President] Hamid Karzai.”

      Joya—who was suspended from office in May 2007 for “insulting the institution of Parliament”—is scheduled to speak in Vancouver on Saturday (November 14) at St. Andrew's–Wesley United Church. The event marks the Canadian launch of her memoir A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice (Scribner, $32.99), which was coauthored by Vancouver activist Derrick O'Keefe.

      In the book, Joya recounts tales of her childhood and her entry into social work and activism. She also denounces NATO's presence in Afghanistan as a violent occupation and calls for the criminal prosecution of a number of fellow MPs, whom she accuses of corruption, murder, and war crimes.

      Pressed on what she thinks would happen if NATO did withdraw its troops tomorrow, Joya argued that even if the country plunged into deeper violence, the Afghan people would be rid of at least one adversary.

      “My people are crushed between two powerful enemies,” she said. “From the sky, occupation forces bomb and kill civilians”¦and on the ground, the Taliban and warlords continue their crimes.”

      Joya noted that even with tens of thousands of troops stationed in Afghanistan, NATO has not been able to bring security to the country. Meanwhile, she said, President Barack Obama has continued the policies of George W. Bush's administration that prop up warlords as well as Islamic fundamentalists such as Abdul Rab al-Rasul Sayyaf, an Afghan MP that the 9/11 Commission Report tied to the attacks on the U.S.

      “It is better that they leave my country; my people are that fed up,” Joya said. “Occupation will never bring liberation, and it is impossible to bring democracy by war.”

      Joya expressed appreciation for the support she receives around the world and said that Afghanistan remains in need of international aid. But, she cautioned, there is much that western powers must do before they regain the trust of the Afghan people.

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      Nov 12, 2009 at 2:29pm

      Leave our country, but we need your help!?
      Karzai is corrupt with his government, but we have non-corrupt candidates!?
      Under the Taliban we were in the "frying pan" not when a window of opportunity has been opened for afghan people to get out of darkness and elite’s dominance we are pushed "into the fire"!?
      "My people fed up"? Why they fed up? Because of the NATO presence? Sure some do fed up to fight against NATO, but not people of Afghanistan. Who represent people of Afghanistan? Ms Joya?
      It is very delightful to see an Afghan woman speaking "bravely", but the speech should be informed, unbiased, and practical and should match the reality and choices that Afghans are facing today.
      It is a good tour. She will sell a lot of books. People are very sensitive these days about the empowerment of woman and withdrawal of troops.
      I still feel sorry for my Afghan people. Oh sorry, for Ms Joya's people.

      peace lover

      Nov 13, 2009 at 10:31pm

      It's very refreshing to hear from Ms Joya. It's so clear Canada is doing far more harm than good in Afghanistan. Why do we glorify soldiers who volunteer for this morally bankrupt war? My heroes are those who strive for peace not those who perpetuate war.

      Marilyn Goode

      Nov 16, 2009 at 9:01am

      Ms. Joya's voice needs to be heard around the world. Peace and democracy is not brought by war. Nato needs to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. As she said, at the moment Afghanistan has two rivals, Nato from above, killing innocent women and children and the Taliban, on the ground, continuing to commit atrocities. Canada could provide to the Afghani people once they get their bearings. Harper withdraw our troops. War is not the answer!


      Nov 16, 2009 at 2:18pm

      I wonder what kind of comments Liberal Afganistan expert Terry Glavin would have to make regarding Malalai's speech?
      Rod Smelser


      Nov 16, 2009 at 4:30pm

      I made my earlier comment too soon.

      Liberal blogger and Afganistan expert Terry Glavin has commented on Malalai Joya's presentation, and he doesn't like it one bit, and neither do his friends:

      Besides being an expert on Afganistan, Glavin is also an expert on fisheries and Aboriginal issues.

      Rod Smelser

      Luna Asim

      Dec 8, 2009 at 9:41pm

      Malalai hasn't done anything special for Afghans so far. She knows nothing about Afghanistan, I think she herself needs to be educated first about Afghanistan situation, culture and peoples urgent need.